Oct 15, 2021

HARTFORD, CT – It was a night, and a victory, 583 days in the making. The Hartford Wolf Pack welcomed fans back inside the XL Center for the first time since March 11th, 2020, on Friday night and treated them to a dramatic 2-1 victory over the rival Bridgeport Islanders.

Forward Morgan Barron, who led the Wolf Pack with ten goals and 21 points a season ago, played the role of hero on this night. Barron sniped home his first goal of the season 7:50 into the third period to give the Wolf Pack their first lead of the season. It proved to be enough.

Things didn’t start so hot for the Wolf Pack on this night, however. Five-time AHL All-Star Chris Terry scored his first goal with the Islanders just 9:00 minutes into the affair to break the ice. Terry, parked in front of Wolf Pack starter Keith Kinkaid, deflected an Arnaud Duranleau shot home.

Bridgeport would fire 15 of the period’s 20 shots, and largely controlled play. The Wolf Pack got a spark late, however, that changed the tide in this one.

Lauri Pajuniemi scored his first career AHL goal at 18:14 of the first period, sneaking one through Jakub Skarek. The shot trickled through the Czech netminder, hit the goal post, and rolled across the goal line before finally crossing to get Hartford on the board.  

The Islanders, who held a 15-5 advantage in shots after one, peppered Kinkaid with ten more bids in the middle frame. Kinkaid was strong, however, slamming the door shut on the Islanders. Hartford’s penalty kill put in a workman-like effort as well, killing off three penalties to keep the score even at 1-1.

Finally, Hartford got its chance in the third period. Jonny Brodzinski snapped a perfect pass over to Barron on a two-on-one against Bridgeport’s Paul LaDue. Barron blasted a one-timer that beat Skarek clean at 7:50 of the third period to give the Pack a lead they would not lose.

The penalty kill cemented the victory with a late fifth kill, propelling the Wolf Pack to two key points to start the new season.

The Pack continue their three-in-three stretch tomorrow night when they visit the Springfield Thunderbirds. Puck drop is set for 7:05 pm. The action resumes at the XL Center on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm when the Providence Bruins come to town.

For tickets, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com

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ABOUT THE HARTFORD WOLF PACK: The Hartford Wolf Pack has been a premier franchise in the American Hockey League since the team’s inception in 1997. The Wolf Pack are the top player-development affiliate of the NHL's New York Rangers and play at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has been home to some of the Rangers newest faces including Igor Shesterkin, Filip Chytil, and Ryan Lindgren. Follow the Wolf Pack on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.  

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